Archives from NBADraft.net: Red vs. Phil: The Greatest Of All Time
This one was from the archives of NBADraft.net that I kept through the years... Despite its fiction, the story was good... This one is for those who were not able to read this... TAKE NOTE: This never really happened but if it did, it would have been Great!
Red Auerbach can’t stop fidgeting.
After 10 minutes of pacing, the legendary coach finally settles into a leather armchair. He reaches into the pockets of his green-and-white Celtics coat and pulls out one of his signature cigars. His doctors tell him they’re off-limits, but he can’t help himself. Today is a big day.
He bites off the end and spits it into a nearby ashtray. He pats his coat and slacks in search of a lighter, a match, anything to set fire to the end of this cigar.
Without warning, a book of matches with the Los Angeles Lakers logo lands in his lap. An 80-inch man stands in the doorway, grinning peacefully.
"Need a light?" the giant Buddhist asks.
"You have to be kidding yourself if you think I’m lighting one of my cigars with Lakers matches," replies the cantankerous Auerbach.
Auerbach rises from the chair to greet his opponent. Phil Jackson has arrived.
The two men shake hands. The media has tried to paint the two as rivals, or even as enemies. Today, however, each man is respectful - even cordial. But that might change by the end of the day.
Both men have amassed nine NBA championships as head coaches, the most in the history of basketball. Basketball fans have endlessly debated whose nine championships are more impressive. Auerbach guided the Boston Celtics to eight consecutive titles from 1959-1966 - a feat that will likely never be duplicated. Jackson, on the other hand, has completed three separate three peats in a deeper league (only eight NBA teams in Auerbach’s era, compared to 29 for Jackson).
Red won more games, but Phil has a higher winning percentage and more playoff victories.
Auerbach ran every aspect of the Celtics, from coaching to scouting to executive decisions, but he rarely dealt with the off-court distractions that Jackson endured, both with Dennis Rodman and Kobe Bryant.
"In my day, a guy like Rodman would’ve gotten his ass kicked," Auerbach says with a chuckle.
"Yeah, well, in your day, players smoked cigarettes before games," Jackson quips.
"At least that’s all they were smoking," Auerbach says. "You know what I’m talking about."
Jackson and Auerbach share a laugh. The two men have met at this undisclosed location to determine once and for all who should be considered the greatest NBA coach of all-time.
How will they do this? By holding a fantasy draft uninhibited by the rules of time.
Each man will select 12 players from any era and at any position. They’ll be getting the player they select during his peak, so no worries about Wizards-era Jordan or Raptors-era Olajuwon here.
Also, it is important to note that a player’s worth is not determined by his raw athletic ability, but by his dominance over his era. For example, there is no way anybody from the 1950s could’ve handled Keon Clark, but in his era, he is barely considered decent. Therefore, a legend like John Havlicek still retains far more value than an above-average player like Jason Richardson.
"How are we going to determine who picks first," Auerbach says.
"Age before beauty, my friend," Phil replies.
"No, I insist you go first. Since you never actually worked as a General Manager, you’re going to need every edge you can get."
Jackson smiles and shakes his head. He reaches for his Armani briefcase and pulls out a yellow notepad with three perfectly sharpened No. 2 pencils.
"In that case, I’m taking Jordan."
Jackson reaches back into his briefcase for a pen. This is the only name on his roster that will be written in ink.
"Of course you are. Without him, you wouldn’t be any greater than someone like Gregg Popovich."
Jackson shrugs his massive shoulders. "I guess we’ll never know. But I know you wouldn’t have won eight straight titles without Bill Russell, so I’m guessing you’ll be taking him first."
"You’re damn right I am!" Auerbach exclaims.
Red digs through his coat pocket for a piece of scrap paper and a Bic pen. He simply writes the number one, circles it, and inks Russell as his top pick.
"I’m telling you, Phil, you can’t win without defense."
Jackson sighs. "I believe it was Confucius who said that men’s natures are alike, but it is their habits that carry them far apart."
Auerbach furrows his brow and stares at his counterpart. "What the hell is that supposed to mean?"
"It means I’ll take Magic," Jackson replies.
"Fine, you can have him. I’ll take Larry Legend."
While Auerbach’s team might trail Jackson’s in athleticism at this point, it’s hard to imagine any team having two players that improve their teammates quite like Russell and Bird.
After Red’s pick, Jackson begins thinking aloud.
"Alright, I’ve got the game’s best scorer and the game’s best point guard. All I need now is my starting center."
"You know, Phil, Wilt is still on the board."
"That’s tempting, Red, but I think I’ll take Shaq instead."
Not only was O’Neal Jackson’s centerpiece for his third three-peat, but he doesn’t get psyched out by Russell the way Chamberlain used to.
Now Auerbach is faced with a dilemma. Does he take Chamberlain and create a ridiculously formidable front line? Or does he solidify his backcourt?
"Since you grabbed Jordan, I’m going to need a big, do-it-all guard to match up on him. I’m taking the Big O."
Jackson shakes his head. "Great pick, Red. Great pick."
With Robertson off the board, Jackson still needs to fill his forward spots. The Stilt remains a possibility, but Jackson throws the first real curveball of this draft with the No. 7 pick.
"I’m taking Olajuwon," Jackson says. "I can’t shake the way he demolished Shaq in the ‘95 Finals. I definitely don’t want you ending up with him."
Auerbach doesn’t seem the least bit concerned about Jackson’s Dream/Diesel combo. He eagerly snags Wilt with the next pick.
"I can’t believe Chamberlain fell this far! The man averaged 50 points and 27 rebounds a game in 1962! This is unbelievable!"
Auerbach takes a long drag off of his cigar. He’s clearly pleased.
"Well, he never had anything like Shaq or Hakeem to deal with that year, either."
A surprisingly subdued Auerbach responds, "Point taken."
Looking at his roster, Phil notices that there’s a glaring hole at the 3-spot. Red realizes this, too, and begins whispering, "Kooooobe. Koooooobe."
Jackson grows increasingly annoyed and turns away from Auerbach.
"What are you doin’? Trying to block me out with your Zen Budda tricks?"
Jackson takes a deep breath. "I’m taking Scottie Pippen."
Auerbach is legitimately stunned.
"Seriously? Scottie Pippen? Ahead of West, Cousy, Barry, McHale, Havlicek, Hayes, Barkley, Malone? I could go on all day."
"Like you said, Red, defense wins ballgames. And there isn’t a better defensive wing player than Scottie. Plus, he can run my triangle and he knows when to defer to Michael. He’s absolutely perfect for this team."
Auerbach responds, "Yeah, that’s all fine and good, but how can you call it your triangle? Didn’t you take that offense from Tex Winter?"
"Whatever," Phil says. "The point is that Scottie is the most underrated basketball player in history and he will pay huge dividends when it counts."
Auerbach raises an eyebrow and goes back to his list. He’s missing a point guard, so his next pick is a foregone conclusion.
"Let me guess. Cooz?" Jackson says.
With the Bob Cousy selection, Auerbach’s starting five includes three Celtics, a the only player to average a triple-double for a season, and a center who dominated everyone not named Russell. He’s ecstatic about his team.
"I couldn’t have asked for a better starting lineup."
"You know, Red, I feel the same way. Magic, Michael, Scottie, Hakeem, and Shaq? Can’t complain."
With the starting lineups set, the men decide to take a break. They will meet later this afternoon to decide on their respective benches. With starting lineups this loaded, the reserves will be vitally important in determining the winner of this match-up.
"How come neither of us has drafted Kareem yet?" Auerbach asks as he grabs his coat. "I mean, the man won six MVP awards! He scored more points than everybody! And neither of us take him? What the hell is wrong with us?"
"Good question. I guess he just rubs me the wrong way. Those goggles bug me. I hated when Horace Grant wore them."
"That’s the best you can do?" Auerbach is growing agitated. "There’s no way you can justify drafting Olajuwon over Kareem."
"Hakeem was a defensive force. Kareem wasn’t. And I’m confident Shaq will get the job done."
"Ok, you made your point." Auerbach takes one last puff on his cigar.
"You want to grab a bite to eat, Red? My treat."
"Damn right, your treat. I can’t believe the money you guys make these days. Back in my day…"
And the two men continue arguing. And arguing.
That would be a hell of a matchup but i give the edge to Jackson team all that athleticism I think would be too much for Red team Cousy would not be able to do nothing with Magic I love the Big O but Mike the greatest Bill couldnt guard shaq and the dream and wilt aint that big a force on the defensive end i give Red the edge with bird over Pippen but with all that athleticism you could throw Magic on Bird Plus Jordan plus their faster and stronger the only thing Jackson team is missing is three point shooting but you pound it inside to shaq and hakeem that would leave mike wide open and he's more than capable of knocking down the three piece Jackson team all day
Definitely would be an amazing game to watch, both were phenomenal coaches and I enjoyed reading these articles. Thank you